Monday, October 31, 2016
A few weeks ago, I made it to Red River Gorge in Kentucky, a hideaway for climbers that my boyfriend has been talking about since we got together last year. I missed his last two trips there but went down this autumn at the height of climbing season, at a time when fog would roll off the hills come morning. At peak season, the campground was full, housing around 200 climbers (see: Miguel's if interested) and often we had to wait in line to get on the rock faces during the day but being a very slow-going climber, I mostly went for the fresh air anyway.
In addition to this trip, I spent most of my time last month moving and when I wasn't moving I was helping my Dad with his move. Cleaning out his house, my Dad gave me a journal that he kept when my Mom and him traveled through Europe after getting married. The account was comical, an accurate account of what travelling usually entails. There were a lot of wrong turns made in their rental car, or exasperated notes of "and then we finally ate lunch." At one point, my Dad ordered a glass of wine in French but when the waiter came out, it was apparent he had ended up ordering a bottle instead. My Mom, at that time pregnant, couldn't drink any so he had to finish it himself to get his money's worth; she also later climbed back down the Arc de Triomphe when visiting, realizing that "stairs and pregnancy don't mix." And then there was the common theme for most all travelers, as my Mom wrote, "I think Paris would be more fun if you had lots of money."
My boyfriend and I didn't make any horribly wrong turns during our trip but we did drive through a rain storm on our way down. On the way back, we decided to "indulge," spend the night in a hotel, and take a shower after two days of camping in the cold. Booking the hotel online, we rolled up to the Day's Inn that night to find that it was, in fact, a motel situated next to a gentleman's club. Spotting mold in the bathroom, we laughed at our mistake, thought whoops, and then stared longingly at the La Quinta across the way.
In other news, I haven't stopped thinking about this essay on ambition I read a few weeks ago. It's about a lot of things relevant to me, mainly writing and the banality of competition and what it means as a woman to feel that way and the verbalization of one my favorite feminist anthems: So what? So the fuck what? It voiced how I feel about most things, and my most common response to misogyny: anger, for sure, but mostly annoyance and then an unwillingness to let it drain my energy when there's so much work to be done.
I particularly liked this part, where Elisa Albert writes,
"I get that my foremothers and sisters fought long and hard so that my relationship to ambition could be so... careless. I get that some foremothers and sisters might read me as ungrateful because I don't want to fight their battles, because I don't want to claw my way anywhere. My apologies, foremothers: I don't want to fight. Oh, is there still sexism in the world? Sigh. Huh. Well. Knock me over with a feather. Now: how do I transplant the peonies to a sunnier spot so they yield more flowers next year or the year after? How do I conquer chapter three of this new novel?"
I hope you read it and hope you keep doing your work, as Albert advocates for, no endpoint in sight.